(a) Upon application made by any individual holding public office, any candidate, any person required to submit filings to the Elections Board under this subchapter, any person who reasonably anticipates being required to submit filings to the Elections Board under this subchapter in connection with a pending election or any subsequent election, or any political committee, political action committee, or other person under the jurisdiction of the Elections Board, the Elections Board shall provide within a reasonable period of time an advisory opinion, with respect to any specific transaction or activity inquired of, as to whether such transaction or activity would constitute a violation of any provision of this subchapter or of any provision of subchapter I of Chapter 10 of this title [§ 1-1001.01 et seq.] over which the Elections Board has primary jurisdiction. The Elections Board shall publish a concise statement of each request for an advisory opinion, without identifying the person seeking the opinion, in the District of Columbia Register within 20 days of its receipt by the Elections Board. Comments upon the requested opinions shall be received by the Elections Board for a period of at least 15 days following publication in the District of Columbia Register. The Elections Board may waive the advance notice and public comment provisions, following a finding that the issuance of the advisory opinion constitutes an emergency necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety, welfare, or morals.
(b) Advisory opinions shall be published in the District of Columbia Register within 30 days of their issuance; provided, that the identity of any person requesting an advisory opinion shall not be disclosed in the District of Columbia Register without his or her prior consent in writing. When issued according to rules of the Elections Board, an advisory opinion shall be deemed to be an order of the Elections Board.
(c) There shall be a rebuttable presumption that a transaction or activity undertaken by a person in reliance on an advisory opinion from the Elections Board is lawful if:
(1) The person requested the advisory opinion;
(2) The facts on which the opinion is based are full and accurate, to the best knowledge of the person; and
(3) The person, in good faith, substantially complies with any recommendations in the opinion.
Effect of Amendments
The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-79 rewrote the first sentence in (a); and added (c).
Applicability of D.C. Law 22-250: § 10 of D.C. Law 22-250 provided that the change made to this section by § 6(j) of D.C. Law 22-250 is subject to the inclusion of the law’s fiscal effect in an approved budget and financial plan. Therefore that amendment has not been implemented.
Applicability of D.C. Law 20-79: Section 3 of D.C. Law 20-79 provided that the act shall apply upon the latest of: (1) The inclusion of the fiscal effect of the act in an approved budget and financial plan, as certified by the Chief Financial Officer to the Budget Director of the Council in a certification published by the Council in the District of Columbia Register; or (2) January 31, 2015.
A certification dated February 4, 2015, that the fiscal effect of the Campaign Finance Reform and Transparency Amendment Act of 2013, D.C. Law 20-79, has been included in an approved budget and financial plan was published in the D.C. Register on March 13, 2015 (62 DCR 2988).